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U.S. adoptees in search for their biological parents

Some children in South Carolina rarely see one or the other of their parents. Others become estranged from them entirely. But something that not many people consider is that there are many who never get to know their parents at all and may not even be aware of their identities. Furthermore, due to the controls surrounding adoption, it can be a real struggle for them to acquire that information.

One woman in New York began the search for her birth mother's identity after being encouraged to explore her medical history. She had recently had a precancerous mole removed, but she had no idea who her mother was. Research eventually led her to records which showed that she had been born with a different name. It was a clue, but not enough to give her the answer she sought. She knows that her birth certificate is held in New York City. However, the state law prevents her from accessing it.

The legislation dates back to the 1930s, but there are hopes that the situation may be about to change. Currently, in Albany, a bill to grant access to birth certificates to thousands of adoptees is under negotiation. Other states have recently enacted similar laws. In the meantime, however, it is near impossible for adoptees to learn their birth identities. At the same time, this potential new legislation may be a cause for concern for those parents who simply do not want to be contacted.

For residents of South Carolina, the issue is just as relevant. If you have concerns about your adoption arrangements, or you are trying to track down a birth parent, an attorney may be able to advise you. Anonymity is often imposed by adoption agencies, but with the right guidance, there may be a way to work around it.

Source: The New York Times, "New York Adoptees Fight for Access to Birth Certificates," Emily Brennan, June 15, 2014

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